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Martin Kevorkian, Chair CAL 226, Mailcode B5000, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4991

Fall 2005

E 376L • The Realist Tradition in American Literature and Art (ADDED)

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
33487 TTh
2:00 PM-3:30 PM
PAR 101

Course Description

The purpose of the course is to show the central role played by realism in the representational strategies used in twentieth-century American art, and more specifically in the representation of violence. I will focus on fiction and the visual arts, with occasional references to early American popular music. The analysis of key terms and concepts will be an important component of the course. Classes will include lectures, discussions, readings, and multimedia.

The two novels and the play included in the reading list all focus on closely related issues, namely violence, the tragic, and the place of man in society. They deal with oppression and rebellion in prison settings, gratuitous mass murders, self-inflicted or political violence. Their representational strategies may differ, but they all adhere to a form of realism. We shall focus on their similarities and differences, and explore to what extent they can be inscribed within an American literary tradition.

The study of artworks will complement this analysis, since in most American artistic schools (Ash Can, precisionism, regionalism, social realism, pop, hyperrealism) as well as in photography, the representation of violence appears as a central issue. We shall see how these works tackle, challenge, and explore our assumptions about realism.

Grading Policy

Two quizzes (30%)
One midterm exam (30%)
2000-word term paper (40%)


5{iams, Not About Nightingales (1938), New York: New Directions, 1998
Truman Capote, In Cold Blood, New York: Signet, 1965
Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club, New York: Random, 1996
A packet of course-related material


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